The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is heeding calls to help developing countries bolster their defences against the increasingly damaging effects of climate change, while overcoming COVID-19 fiscal constraints.
That was the message GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec brought to the recently concluded Climate Adaptation Summit 2021.
“As they grapple with the COVID-19 crisis, developing countries do not have the resources to finance urgent adaptation needs,” Glemarec told the 24-hour online summit. He was among a broad range of national and global leaders gathered to ramp up financing for adaptive measures to deal with climate change, especially for poor populations that are most at risk.
Glemarec outlined the measures GCF is taking with its partners to help developing countries bolster adaptation during several summit sessions focusing on different dimensions of climate adaptation. GCF is committing half of its USD 7 billion portfolio to adaptation action, with more than two thirds of adaptation funding reaching the most vulnerable countries: Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States, and African states.
GCF is targeting that funding towards four outcomes: supporting transformational country planning, catalysing climate innovation, mobilizing public and private investment at scale, and the development of knowledge creation and sharing about climate solutions.
Glemarec set out GCF’s efforts to mobilize adaptation finance in more detail during a summit session which highlighted the key role of trillion-dollar global finance flows to address climate change.
Collaborative GCF measures include leveraging the new generation of developing countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to foster synergies between adaptation, mitigation, development finance, in line with COVID-19 economic stimulus.
“Integrated policies that capture triple wins for health, growth and climate could reduce by 40 percent the required total investment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement,” Glemarec said.
Other measures Glemarec outlined included new valuation methodologies that enable financiers to better assess the rates of return of climate resilient investment in a changing climate. He also stressed the need to create new climate-resilient financial products to match the risk profile of products familiar to institutional investors.
Glemarec added that the international community needs to deliver on the USD 100 billion goal in climate finance - a precondition to transform the markets needed to align financial flows to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.
In other sessions, the GCF Executive Director highlighted how GCF support is enhancing climate resilience in agriculture and infrastructure. Across the African continent, Glemarec said, GCF has invested almost USD 1.1 billion of its USD 7.3 billion committed resources during the past four years specifically in adaptation measures.
A number of developing country leaders credited GCF support for current inroads their countries are making in boosting their adaptative capacity and reducing climate risks.
Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell said GCF finances are helping his country carry out a total transformation of its water sector to become more climate resilient. Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said GCF is assisting Ghana’s work with the private sector to establish a multi-million dollar fund to support adaptation and a transition to renewable energy.
GCF’s equal support for adaptation and mitigation activities reducing emissions is helping correct a yawning imbalance, where mitigation currently captures the major share of global climate finance.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the summit that “adaptation cannot be the neglected half of the climate equation.” He called for all donor and multilateral development banks to address the “huge gaps” in adaptation funding by allocating 50 percent of their climate finance to adaptation.
While warning of current unprecedented climate extremes, the Secretary General highlighted the challenges posed by the recent United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Adaptation Gap Report which calculates annual adaptation costs in developing countries alone to be in the range of USD 70 billion dollars. These costs are estimated to reach USD 300 billion dollars in 2030.